Dota 2 Hero Guide: How to master Pudge in patch 7.29

Dota 2's very own chin choppa (Image via Valve)
Dota 2's very own chin choppa (Image via Valve)

Pudge is arguably the most iconic of all Dota 2 heroes.

He is also the most played Dota 2 hero ever, towering over the likes of Sniper and Lion with a 35% pick rate. This is most likely due to how satisfying his flagship skillshot is. Pudge, of course, is much more about just landing ungodly hooks. Pudge is a hero that creates and piggybacks on momentum through kills.

Which Dota 2 position should Pudge be played in?

Pudge’s first entry in the old DoTA was as a necromancer with vastly different abilities from now. His current skill-set was first implemented on patch 5.76. Throughout the years, Pudge has gone through many patches of buffs and nerfs. There have been multiple reworks of ‘Flesh Heap’, which once made him a viable mid laner as well.

The ghost of the mid-lane pudge still haunts fans, but mostly as a meme. Most pudge experts will know that the definitive way to play the hero is as a position 4 roamer. Delving straight into his playstyle will explain the reason better.

Game Plan

The point of Pudge is to put opponents in uneasy situations. A Pudge hiding in the shadows of the juke paths means every squishy support has to rethink every step. They cannot go into the dark to ward without a smoke, lest a Pudge waits near the cliffs. So the most menacing Pudge is always a Pudge gone missing.

Admittedly, Pudge is among the easiest heroes in Dota 2 last hit with. To counter this, Pudge gains nearly nothing from traditional laning. Even if Pudge comes midlane, the best idea is to get lvl 6 and swap midlane with someone else so he can go missing as soon as possible.

Why is laning with Pudge a bad idea? Because Pudge is among the most aggressive heroes in the Dota 2 pool by design. This is not because Pudge is bad at ramping up farm - Rot can be utilized to this end with some regen very effectively.

Instead, it is about Flesh Heaps. Pudge is among the strongest early-game heroes in Dota 2. Past 30 minutes, however, his reign depends on how he utilized his early power spikes. Flesh Heaps (E) basically makes Pudge tankier the more kills he assists in. In other words, without kills, Pudge will not be as strong, and thus useless late game.

To further this cause, Pudge must create kills and create as much momentum as possible. Pudge’s job is to set up ganks and create pressure constantly.

As for skill builds, it is best to skip E until Pudge gets some assists or kills. Ideally, he should have three points in Q, 2 points in W, and a point in R in lvl 6.

The combo is simply to Hook (Q) a target and then Dismember (R), which leads into a kill with some assistance from teammates. The most vital thing, however, is to land the Hooks.

Blind Hooks are innately a bad idea. It is simply giving in to a high-risk situation for a small chance of short-term applause. To relaibly Hook, it is also Pudge’s job to ward and gain vision of the area his target should be in. For a soft support Pudge, a ward behind the enemy T1 often serves this purpose. Its success depends on both the collision box of the Hook itself as well as the hitbox of the hero. The following Dota 2 video explains the mechanic well.


If there is one thing a Pudge should avoid like the plague, that is settling down in one lane. Other Dota 2 players are smart too. They will know to reposition themselves behind creeps so as to not get hooked, so subsequent hook attempts in the same lane are bound to get more difficult.

The one exception is if all other lanes seem to have zero kill potential and/or all escape heroes, which is an extremely rare scenario in Dota 2.

Pudge should also try to get lvl 2-3 and roam to mid by 4 minutes. This is when the second set of bottle runes spawn, and with a Smoke of Deceit, this can easily turn into a bait-and-switch kill on the opponent midlaner.

In the mid game, Pudge should be leading the charge for the battle of visions. His gameplay remains the same throughout the course of a Dota 2 match - to find kills and to keep the momentum alive.

Pudge very much thrives on this momentum, as the supports feel uncomfortable to put down wards alone and cores feel unsafe to freely farm. Playing from behind with Pudge, however, is a different tale. A disadvantageous Dota 2 midgame eliminates the whole point, as Pudge cannot scale without creating an early lead to begin with.

In the late game, a successful Pudge with many Flesh Heap stacks is among the tankiest Dota 2 heroes. His job is to take enemies out of the teamfights with Hook and Dismember when possible, and to soak up damage in his cores’ stead for the high ground pushes.



Pudge needs a great deal of regen early game. Tranquil Boots is in general good for a Dota 2 support, as it grants both decent movement speed and HP regen. For mana sustenance, Urn (later Spirit Vessel) comes in handy as a second item.

Other than this, Soul Ring and Clarities are also viable options. Blink Dagger also lets pudge blink directly into the target and open with Dismember, saving the Hook for later. Aghanim’s Shard, introduced with Dota 2 7.28, gives Pudge the ability to consume an allied hero, opening new initiation and saving methods. Other than this, Pudge can potentially build:

  • Eul’s Scepter
  • Ghost Scepter/Ethereal Blade
  • Pipe of Insight
  • Rod of Atos/Gleipnir
  • Glimmer Cape
  • Force Staff
  • Shiva’s Guard
  • Lotus Orb

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Edited by Nikhil Vinod
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